One Miracle After Another, a book about one man’s struggles living as an Adventist in Communist times, was quite inspirational. It recounted the times that Pavel Goia refused to go to school on Sabbath, yet every Saturday school was cancelled due to severe weather conditions or other abnormal circumstances causing his absence to be unnoticed. I was so awestruck to see how God worked all things according to His good for this man that put all his trust in God. However, I never felt that would be a reality for me: only a good story that I once read in a fascinating book. I have been amazed to see how God has answered my unspoken prayer week after week.
As missionaries, we are supposed to be reaching those around us to help them find the way to Jesus. Santa Marta, a small village about 10 miles North of our project, has become one of the main focuses for our outreach. Every Sunday, a group of us make the 35-minute drive to go study with some of our new friends. Two weeks ago, there was a hurricane along the eastern side of Mexico that traveled south. There was severe flooding in Mexico and parts of Belize. Although our houses were not underwater, we experienced rain for about a week and a half. The rain fell from the heavens all day, every day. Mud half way to my knees, damp clothes that never smelled good, halted work for all, gloomy spirits wondering if sun would ever be seen again. However, when Sunday arrived, there was no rain. We traveled to Santa Marta, enjoyed fellowship with others, witnessed, and returned home safely. The next week could only promise better. Sun shining every day, work continued as normal. The heat was exhaustive, but what a blessing to be able to walk on solid ground once again. The week passed by and Sunday arrived once again. As irony would have it, the black clouds gathered right before we left for our outreach. The drive along the bumpy pathway was slow and slippery. The clouds opened up and poured down upon us. With dashed hopes and no remembrance of God’s providing in the past, we trudged along. The sun began to peak through the parting clouds driving the rain away. Once again, we had a day of outreach without any rain. As I recalled these last two weeks, I was reminded how every Sunday that we have gone to Santa Marta, we have always had pleasant weather without any rain. Even when I was not praying for God to hold the rain back, He knew what was best for us and provided accordingly.
Some may consider moving rocks a form of punishment. I actually enjoy it most days! After mowing the fields with the tractor, I try and remove as many boulders as possible so that the following cutting does not dig up so many buried treasures. Although the work is tiring, sweaty, and mundane, I have been able to learn valuable lessons. The saying, “ It’s just the tip of the iceberg” has not meant so much as in the last few days. Even though the temperature would never allow for a frozen mountain, the concept still applies. When I find a rock, I first try to pick it up. If it is stuck, I try to hit it with a large iron rod to loosen it. If that fails, I start prying with the bar. Occasionally the picking, hitting, and prying all fail. In these severe circumstances, drastic measures are called for. I get the shovel, pry bar, and water bottle then start working. Yesterday I had a monster just barely poking its head out of the ground. What looked like a five-minute job lasted for forty-five minutes. I was just about to give up on its removal when I decided to give one last effort. Much to my dismay, it budged ever so slightly. Oh bother! I knew that I could not give up then. Despite my lack of strength or energy, I pressed on in the work that lay ahead. With every ounce of effort that I had left, I finally managed to remove the beast that was giving me such grief. The only task that loomed was getting it into the one-wheeled chariot to take it to its destiny, the rock pile. I tipped the wheelbarrow on its side and heaved with all my might. Victory at last! An enormous feeling of success swept over me as I finally dumped it out. It reminded me that in my times of distress, Christ gives me the strength I need to accomplish the task He gives me.
This last Sabbath, I had the opportunity to read a chapter out of Ellen White’s compilation entitled Prayer. A thought hit me like a ton of bricks (or maybe rocks may be more apropos): What a privilege prayer is for humans. In the story of Esther, one can read how perilous it was to come before the king without being summoned. People risked life simply to be in the presence of another mortal. Simply by the king’s word could a person’s fate be determined. Can you imagine the terror that must have plagued Esther as she walked through the corridor of the palace on her way to face life or death? Every day, I come into the presence of the King. But unlike the kings of old, my King has given me an open invitation to come visit Him. I never have to travel for miles or days to come into His presence. He will never reject me or sentence me to death, regardless of what baggage I bring along with me. And the best part is that He is pleading for me to come into His presence every day. He delights when you choose to visit Him in the morning and talk with Him throughout the day. I beckon you to take advantage of this superior opportunity that has been granted to each one of us. I guarantee that if you trust Him with all of you life’s work, you will not be disappointed. Results may not be expected, so make sure you are holding on tight to His hand.